Ruling Ends Costly and Ineffective Policy as More States Abandon the Death Penalty
Since its founding in 1986, the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty has supported complete repeal of Connecticut’s death penalty. CNADP welcomes today’s Connecticut Supreme Court ruling, which takes the prudent step of ending the state’s failed death penalty and the possibility of any future executions.
In response to a large coalition of Connecticut faith leaders, murder victims’ families, civil rights leaders, law enforcement experts, and legal scholars, the Connecticut General Assembly in 2012 took a significant step toward ending the state’s death penalty by repealing it prospectively. This legislation, however, left in place those already on Connecticut’s death row, and thus the remnants of a broken system. With death sentences still in effect, Connecticut continued to face some of the persistent problems plaguing capital punishment, such as its long and difficult appeals process and high costs.
Today’s ruling ensures that the state can move beyond this flawed policy. “I am deeply thankful for the Court’s ruling,” said Sr. Mary Healy of West Hartford. “As a clinical therapist and family of a murder victim, I’ve seen up close the devastating effects that the death penalty and its prolonged legal process can have on families already struggling with tragedy of losing a loved one. Throughout its history, the death penalty in Connecticut has failed murder victims’ families.”
Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean of New Haven echoed this view: “The state took a step forward today by ending a policy marked by ineffectiveness and injustice. Troubling racial disparities proved to be an unavoidable aspect of Connecticut’s death penalty. Furthermore, for myself and dozens of other murder victims’ family members, we recognized that the death penalty did not help us. Moving forward, hopefully the state will focus on making sure murder victims’ families receive the support and services they need.”
As a result of today’s ruling, Connecticut will avoid the costs and challenges that other states have faced in trying to procure lethal injection drugs that increasingly are difficult to obtain. “From the perspective of law enforcement,” said Ridgefield Police Commissioner Dr. George Kain, “this ruling eliminates the distraction of the death penalty, allowing us to focus on measures that actual reduce crime. Fortunately, Connecticut will not follow the path of some other states in wasting time and taxpayer dollars in futile efforts to obtain lethal injection drugs or design other execution protocols.”
The Connecticut Supreme Court striking down the death penalty is part of a larger trend nationally against the practice. Seven states in the last decade have repealed the death penalty, including the red state of Nebraska earlier this year. Four other states have enacted moratoria on executions.